What happens when you die? Many people today simply believe in a concept called annihilation. You simply cease to exist. The only thing that lives on is your memory or your legacy; but for you, personally, life is over–no tomorrow nor eternity … you are simply gone.
In some sense, that’s a comforting thought–when it’s over it is over.
Unfortunately it’s not true. The Bible teaches us a hard reality–there is a very real heaven and a very real hell. Not Hell as a metaphor but as a state of existence for eternity.
Popular images of hell like to play up the lake of fire dimension of Hell. A place of eternal torment. The Bible does speak of Hell in this way. But the most powerful image of Hell to me is that it is the place of eternal separation from God. God who is life, love, hope and more will not be where you have chosen to be. That’s a torment far greater than pain inflicted upon my body – even if that physical pain is eternal.
Easter People do not fear Hell but neither do they forget it. They have been delivered from it by the power of the Cross of Jesus Christ. They will be eternally united with Him. The resurrection is the evidence that they will not be separated from God.
But since they what they truly means and they know how, but for God’s grace, that would have been their destiny–they fear that others whom they love might have Hell as their eternal destiny. Easter People live with a compulsion, that no one should have that tragic destiny.
The apostle Paul said it best:
11 Since, then, we know what it is to fear the Lord, we try to persuade others. What we are is plain to God, and I hope it is also plain to your conscience. 12 We are not trying to commend ourselves to you again, but are giving you an opportunity to take pride in us, so that you can answer those who take pride in what is seen rather than in what is in the heart. 13 If we are “out of our mind,” as some say, it is for God; if we are in our right mind, it is for you. 14 For Christ’s love compels us, because we are convinced that one died for all, and therefore all died. 15 And he died for all, that those who live should no longer live for themselves but for him who died for them and was raised again.
16 So from now on we regard no one from a worldly point of view. Though we once regarded Christ in this way, we do so no longer. 17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here! 18 All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: 19 that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting people’s sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation. 20 We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ’s behalf: Be reconciled to God. 21 God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God. – 2 Corinthians 5:11-21